Examination Tips




Explain ......'in terms of ' .... means use these words please!
When asked for one named example it must be a case study you have been taught and you must write it in
If you are asked what something means you must not use any of the words you are asked about in the answer - or even words that are derived from them (that means similar in sound/spelling)
When you are asked to refer to the map/diagram, make sure you use as much of the information on it as you can and unless asked to 'explain' what something is, don't!
If the question does not ask you to look at the map/diagram - forget it - they have!
When they say 'Using a named example to explain X' ( e.g. pushes and pulls) make sure you let them know what X is and refer it to your example at least once per paragraph.
Learn the difference between Why? and What?

If anyone can think of any more - let me know!

Comparing

You need to make DIRECT comparisons to get high marks.
So for differences:
  • X is ...... whereas Y is ....
  • X ...., on the other hand Y .....
  • X is _ . In contrast Yis
And similarities
  • X is _. Similarly, Y
  • Both X and Y are alike in that they both .....
  • Y has _. X also has _

A poem to help you remember COMMAND WORDS

Describe! Describe! Describe!
Is my first (but not last) exam plea
What does it look like?
Just what is there?
Come on – say what you see.

If describing a physical feature
Like a cliff or coastal spit
Can you describe the size,
shape and structure,
Steadily, bit by bit?

Can you use describing words
like narrow, wide or flat?
Or straight or curved
Steep or gentle
Describing is doing just that.

Explain, Explain, Explain
You must give it a try.
Don't just say what can be found
But give a reason why.
I don't have to justify
Just what is coming next.
But what if j-u-s-t-i-f-y
is written there in text?

It means you must give a reason
And your points need some support
If not you'll find your response or answer
May fail and fall well short

If asked to compare two separate things
It can be quite a bind
But it's crucial that you assess the differences
In the two things that you find.

It might be that they are different
Or they could share similar traits
Directly comparing is definitely better
And gives your answer greater weight.

'Whereas' can be used to express a difference
A second option - 'On the other hand'
It shows you are comparing
And your answer has been planned.

Contrast is a little different;
The differences are all you must say
Find evidence that the things oppose each other
And then contrast away...

Assessing the good and bad of something:
(Is it bad or is it great?)
Means what you are really doing
is attempting to evaluate.

In summary, to draw things together
To bring things to an end
The number of exam command words
Could drive you round the bend.

But whether you like or loathe them
You need to know their worth
You can't pretend that they're not there
And give them a wide berth.
Assessing the good and bad of something:
(Is it bad or is it great?)
Means what you are really doing
is attempting to evaluate.

In summary, to draw things together
To bring things to an end
The number of exam command words
Could drive you round the bend.

But whether you like or loathe them
You need to know their worth
You can't pretend that they're not there
And give them a wide berth.
M F Cowan 2008